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Nest Thermostat Reviews: Save Money and Energy

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Nest Thermostat Reviews: Save Money and Energy
Dan LeFebvre / Unsplash

Google and its line of Nest thermostats are designed to provide energy efficiency and ease of use. With the ability to control it from a smart phone, users can get the precise temperature that they want with just a few taps. Best of all, they are compatible with most HVAC systems, allowing for easy installation. Learn how a Nest smart home thermostat can help make your home more eco-friendly.


How We Review Smart Thermostats

When evaluating smart home thermostats, we look at the following categories and features:

  • Mobile App - Can you control the device remotely through a mobile app, and what kind of functionality does the app give you? Is it compatible with other smart devices or systems?
  • Energy Savings - How much energy can you save by installing this device in your home? We look for products and devices that carry the ENERGY STAR seal for the most-efficient products.
  • Installation - What are the installation options for the device? Is it DIY or does it require professional installation?
  • Price - How is the product priced compared to other brands and the amount of money you could save on your energy bill?
  • Learning capability - Does the thermostat learn your preferences automatically, or do you have to program them yourself?
  • Warranty - Does the brand offer a warranty on the product, and if so how long does the warranty cover your device?
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

Google Store

The 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat is a smart thermostat that is compatible with most modern smart home applications and Wi-Fi networks. Compared to your old thermostat, the Nest Learning Thermostat can help you conserve energy while keeping your home comfortable.

Why Buy? - The Google Nest Learning thermostat provides exceptional energy-saving capability and is compatible with most modern HVAC systems. Users can get convenient, easy usage while seeing a reduction in their monthly energy bill. Plus, it allows you to choose the look you want at checkout with a number of different ring option, including stainless steel, brass, and copper finishes.

$250

How it Works - The Nest Learning thermostat works by connecting to your HVAC system and optimizing your energy usage. It is meant to save energy by making the system more efficient, reducing the need to leave it running constantly. Best of all? It learns your habits, creating pre-sets that can match your preferred heating and cooling settings based on your schedule. It uses energy to keep you comfortable when you're there, and then reduces energy consumption when you're not.

Mobile App - One of the key features of any smart thermostat is the ability to control the temperature in your home from anywhere. The Learning Thermostat puts you in control with the Nest app, which you can download for ios or Android devices. The app provides you with HVAC monitoring through reports on your energy history that you can use to increase your efficiency. You can also connect your Nest thermostat to the Google Home app, which lets you control all of your smart home devices in one place.

Energy Savings - Google Nest thermostats come ENERGY STAR certified. What does that mean? In addition to improved energy usage, you can be certain that it is highly-rated and meant to be one of the industry's best at conserving energy usage according to the Environmental Protection Agency. On average, the Google Nest can conservatively save 10-12% on heating as well as 15% on cooling. Given average energy costs, that can mean a savings of $130-$145 each year.

Installation - The good news is that the Google Nest Learning thermostat can be installed by a professional or you can install it yourself. The installation is relatively easy, taking an estimated 20-30 minutes to complete, and it even comes with the screwdriver and screws you'll need. These smart home thermostats are compatible with most heating and cooling systems, making it as simple as running a compatibility check and installing. For older homes, there may be compatibility issues so make sure to check before purchasing.

Price - The price, like anything, varies depending on where you get it. Through Google, the 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat is $249.99. Through secondary retailers, it can be obtained for around $200. Purchasing directly through the manufacturer (Google) ensures the warranty is intact.

Warranty - Through Google itself, the Google Nest Learning Thermostat covers manufacturer defects or labor for up to 3 years. The length of the warranty depends on the model of Nest thermostat that is purchased, with the Nest Learning Thermostat being covered for 3 years. It is to be understood that the manufacturer may replace parts with other suitable replacements if there are no original parts available.

Google Nest Thermostat

Google Store

The Google Nest thermostat is a similar offering to the Learning Thermostat. It is meant to provide energy savings and convenience to home heating and cooling systems. The programmable thermostat installs easily and can even be accessed through a smart phone application.

Why Buy? - The Google Nest thermostat is very similar to the Nest Learning option. The good news is that it is a cheaper alternative that delivers similar energy savings, ENERGY STAR certification, and basic functionality. For those looking to save a little bit on a quality smart programmable thermostat, the Nest is a perfectly suitable alternative.

$130


How it Works - Though there are a lot of similarities between the Nest and the Nest Learning thermostats, there are important distinctions. The Nest is "simpler" in a lot of ways. For one, it won't learn your behavior and set automatic schedules.

It also has a different display (the Learning Thermostat has Farsight technology that detects when you are in the room) and won't work with the Nest Temperature Sensor. The Nest also does not have the internal battery backup that the Learning does, making it susceptible to power outages. However, it does still allow you to control your thermostat remotely and to optimize your home's energy consumption for heating and cooling with home/away settings.

Mobile App - Like the the Nest Learning option, the Nest has its own app that users can install on smart devices. Basic functionality and even initial setup can be handled through the app, creating greater ease of use for your new Nest thermostat. The Nest uses the same Google Nest app that the Learning Thermostat does, making it easy to transition between the two.

Energy Savings - The Nest Thermostat offers similar energy savings as the Learning Thermostat option, roughly 10-12% on heating and 15% on cooling per year.

Installation - Like the Nest Learning Thermostat, the Nest thermostat can be installed by a professional or done as a quick do-it-yourself project. Those wishing to install on their own can follow Google's installation guide, with estimated installation times ranging from 20-30 minutes.

Price - At $199.99, the Nest is slightly more affordable than the Nest Learning Thermostat. As is the case with the Learning Thermostat, it can be found for slightly less through trusted retailers. The difference will likely be the warranty offerings.

Warranty - Google offers limited warranties on all of their thermostat devices. The Nest warranty is covered for 1 year. It covers limited part replacement, including the manufacturer option to replace original parts with select compatible parts.

Additional Nest Products

The Nest and Nest Learning thermostats are not stand-alone products. There are accessories that can be integrated with these models to provide a better heating and cooling experience than they may offer on their own.

Nest Temperature Sensor

No matter what type of HVAC system that you have, it sometimes doesn't evenly heat or cool each room in your home. So, what do you do when there are rooms in your home that are a little warmer or colder than the others?

The Nest Temperature Sensor is meant to help with that. The Nest Temperature Sensor goes into individual rooms in the home and works in tandem with the Nest thermostat. By detecting the temperature in those rooms, your smart thermostat can better distribute heat or cold air, accordingly, providing a more even air distribution. That means no pockets where the temperature is noticeably different than the rest of the home. This also helps prevent your system from working extra hard, and using extra energy, to make up for those differences.

Nest Hub for Voice Control

You can pair the Google Nest thermostat with Google Assistant through the Nest Hub or Nest Mini, or most any smart speaker. You can also connect your Nest thermostat to Amazon Alexa to implement voice control into your smart thermostat experience. This lets you adjust the temperature without having to go to the thermostat yourself.

Additionally, Nest offers smart home products like the Nest Cams, motion sensors, video doorbells, and more that you can integrate into your smart home system.

Nest Thermostat Energy Rebates

The Google Nest line of thermostats are meant to provide energy savings and efficiency to users. In addition to making HVAC systems more efficient, they make temperature control far more convenient and easier.

Additionally, there are potential energy rebates to be had by using the Google Nest thermostat line. Your local energy provider may even potentially offer you a Nest thermostat, since it is ENERGY STAR certified, at no additional cost. Check with your local provider and see what programs and rewards that they may have available.

Smart Thermostat FAQs

What is a Smart Thermostat?

A smart thermostat is meant to give the user greater control over the temperature control in their home. Moreover, it is meant to provide energy savings by making smarter use of the HVAC system or heat pump, resulting in lower energy bills and usage.

Additionally, a smart thermostat is meant to provide greater ease of use. Traditional thermostats not only have a much more limited set of features and functionality, they must be programmed at the unit. Smart thermostats are often times compatible with smart phones and tablets, allowing the user to program features remotely.

What to Look for When Buying a Smart Thermostat

There are a few things worth considering when buying a smart thermostat. Energy savings are the most important; after all, it is one of the primary reasons for buying a smart thermostat in the first place.

Moreover, convenience and number of options are an important consideration. That means ease of smart phone app use, how quickly you can program the thermostat, and the individual room functionality that it provides.

How Much Energy Can a Smart Thermostat Save?

On average, the Google Nest thermostat and its various incarnations can expect to save anywhere from 10-15% on annual energy usage. For most average-sized homes, that equates to about $130-$145 saved on energy bills each year.

This number can vary based on a couple of factors. The size of home is important as larger homes will have greater energy needs. Secondly, it depends on the condition of your HVAC systems. Old and outdated systems may still be compatible with the Nest, but may have certain limitations on their efficiency to begin with.

What Other Smart Home Products Help Save Energy?

Smart thermostats are a great way to cut down on the energy needed to heat and cool the home. But what else can help save energy usage? Smart products typically involve some sort of scheduling system to ensure that they run only when needed.

Smart plugs can help you manage your home's appliances to optimize their energy consumption, and smart lighting can ensure that you are conserving energy when no one is home.

For those who frequently care for their gardens, a smart sprinkler system can be beneficial. Save on water, set watering schedules, and reduce the amount of water needed to keep the yard healthy. Similar to a smart thermostat, a smart sprinkler system can save 10-20% on water usage in a given year depending on the size of the property.


Ryan Womeldorf is a freelance writer who covers technology and consumer goods, including smart home tech. He is a husband and father of two (five if you count his pups).

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